The First Amendment Looks Beautiful in Any Language

If you find yourself in Times Square between now and June, look up. You may catch a glimpse of the First Amendment — in Spanish, English, and Arabic.

The ad on the Reuters Digital Tower at 3 Times Square is part of an ACLU campaign to raise awareness about First Amendment rights and remind people that the Constitution is for all of us, no matter who you are or what language you speak.

In addition to the Times Square billboard, the ads were unveiled at 30 bus shelters across Washington, D.C.  The First Amendment in all three languages is also displayed on a fence in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and will appear on a wall in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles.

Additional ads may appear in other cities and in other languages in the coming days and weeks.

The idea for the campaign came about shortly after Donald Trump was elected president on a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria and a pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States.  It was conceived of by the agency Emergence Creative, which approached the ACLU with the idea in December 2016.

1st Amendment Campaign in D.C.

In addition to protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to peaceably protest, the First Amendment protects the right to practice your religion and not be discriminated against for doing so.

Because so much of the ACLU’s work involves protecting First Amendment rights, and because we now have a president that openly disdains such freedoms, it seemed like a good time to point out the “We the People” means everyone. 

Several advertising vendors refused to run the campaign. Representatives who handle advertising space for New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and Washington’s Metropolitan Area Transit Authority declined, saying they did “not accept issue oriented advertising.” However, the vendors who did offer space did so at a substantial discount in part because they wanted to support the effort.

The First Amendment ads will run in Times Square through June, appearing twice an hour for 15 seconds on the electronic billboard at Reuters Digital Tower, 3 Times Square. The ads in Washington will appear on 30 bus shelters across the city for four weeks.

Any advertisers who would like to donate space should contact the ACLU.

View comments (22)
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Anonymous

How fast before the “THIS IS AMERICA! WE SPEAK ENGLISH!!!”-types jump off the deep end over this?

Anonymous

They are most def triggered lol

Anonymous

This is America. We speak English!!

Anonymous

not really Navajo, Cherokee and other Native American Languages are considered priority before your british english... please educate yourself on your ugly history

Anonymous

You guys nailed the blowback. My concern is that they are preaching the choir. DC and NYC were solidly Democratic. Good message wrong audience.

Anonymous

The message is great and should appear in more languages. However, not the wrong audience. There are thousands of people who will cross this daily who are not from these two states. Tourists and the like. Message will get out there :)

Carole

This is America. We speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Farsi, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, Urdu, Nahuatl, Korean, German, Croatian, Hmong, Amharic, Pashto, Hebrew, Igbo, Gaelic, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish...

Danielle

Yes! Thank you

Anonymous

In every language the First Amendment does not protect the right of corporations to fund independent political broadcasts in elections. The ACLU 's support of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United is wrong. It wouldn't be at odds with the principles the ACLU has articulated for decades to say corporations do not have the same rights as humans.

The Free Texan

I would like t say I agree with you but you are wrong. Corporations are protected by the first amendment because they have the same rights in court as an individual. Look it up. Corporations are protected as "citizens" under US law. They have the same rights and protections under the constitution. For real! This is truth. Examine coprate law cases and you will see the truth.
This is why the Keystone pipeline will continue. Corporations have the same rights under law as citizens.
Right or wrong that's "we the people" created and that's the way it is. Sorry

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